Sharon Montrose has what most people consider a dream job: She photographs adorable animals—from lions to flamingos to knobbly-kneed giraffes—and sells prints online at her store, The Animal Print Shop. But what’s her job really like? Does she ever get scared? What’s the trickiest animal to photograph?
How do you persuade an energetic infant monkey to pause long enough for a photograph? You don’t. “I put the camera in front of him, let him do whatever he wanted and tried to capture his natural charm,” says Sharon Montrose. “Of course, you do need a lot of patience for that.”
It’s this sort of hands-off approach that has made the Los Angelean a leading light in animal photography, shooting everything from pet-food advertising to a number of animal-portrait books. Her latest in that line, Menagerie, herds together a full farmyard of animals, from baby goats to lambs, as well as exotic additions from pelicans to tigers. The result is a series of images that evoke the idiosyncrasies of each subject, from the baby porcupine with its head dipped towards the floor, each quill exquisitely outlined, to the evocative slithering gait of a crocodile on the move.
And Montrose’s favourite? “The monkey!” she chuckles. “He was like a little toddler, walking around the set, sucking his thumb. He was so affectionate he would even come over and hug me, and afterwards I just wanted to steal him and take him home with me.”